NAPLES — Wearing handcuffs and shackles, accused killer Mesac Damas appeared in Collier County Circuit court this morning but his trial is still about a year away, according to Judge Frank Baker.
Damas is accused of killing his wife and five children in their North Naples home last year.
In a status hearing, Assistant State Attorney Rich Montecalvo said the trial is still at least a year away and Damas’ attorney Deputy Public Defender Michael Orlando agreed.
Joining Montecalvo was Assistant State Attorney Dave Scuderi.
Montecalvo said they don’t anticipate any other discovery disclosures, but the medical examiners reports and photographs that are still being compiled for the defense attorneys.
There are already depositions of the first five officers on the scene. And an extensive witness list, including a few out of country witnesses.
Orlando said the case has gotten off to a productive start.
A status hearing in front of Baker was set for June 18.
Montecalvo said it was normal for a case, such as the Damas case, to take about a year.
A man in the gallery yelled out his name as Damas was led from the courtroom and Damas managed to wave as a bailiff told the man to be quiet.
A woman wept so hard she had to be escorted out of the room by Damas’ attorney at the end the hearing.
After fleeing to Haiti, Damas admitted on video to a Naples Daily News reporter that he killed his wife and children.
Damas has been held without bond on suicide watch at the Collier County jail, a normal procedure in murder case.
On Sept. 19, Collier County sheriff’s deputies were called to the Damas’ rented townhouse after Guerline Damas hadn’t shown up for work at Publix. Deputies entered the home on Hampton Circle and found a bloody crime scene: Their bodies had been stabbed and their throats slashed.
Damas had fled to Haiti a day earlier, but was brought back by sheriff’s detectives after he confessed to a Daily News reporter and special agent Peter Kolshorn of the U.S. Diplomatic Security Service following his arrest by Haitian police on Sept. 21.
DAMAS FAMILY KILLINGS COVERAGE
ONE YEAR LATER:
- Year after slayings of Guerline Damas, five kids, relatives ask ‘did it really, really happen?’
- Confessed killer Mesac Damas wants to die, so should court system let him?
- Damas family slayings: Year later, still haunting lives of friends, family, deputies
- Jail phone call: Accused killer Mesac Damas talks to father about his slain family, Satan and adultery
MESAC DAMAS CONFESSION VIDEO:
DAILY NEWS STAFF JOURNALISTS TALK ABOUT THE CASE:
- THE FIELD: Naples Daily News staff writer describes how he obtained an interview with Mesac Damas
- THE FIELD: Visual Journalist Greg Kahn discusses being the first journalist at the Damas crime scene, and other observations from the field.
- THE FIELD: Staff Writer Steven Beardsley answers questions about his interview with Mesac Damas